In the second step of its November, 2012 vote in favor of recognizing “Palestine” as a non-voting member nation of the United Nations, Belgium revealed this weekend that it had upgraded the status of the “Palestinian” delegation in Belgium to “mission,” according to Agence France-Presse.
Until this elevation, the official representatives of the Palestinian Arabs in Belgium had been what is known as a “general delegation.”
The upgrade took place during a bilateral meeting between Belgium and the Palestinian Arabs, which took place in Jordan. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders confirmed the upgrade.
“The raising (of status) reflects Belgian and European support for the two-state solution,” Reynders said in a statement, adding that the head of the mission could use the title of ambassador.
Whether Reynders’ reference to support beyond Belgium was an approved hint that more European nations would soon follow suit remains an open question.
Belgium was one of 138 nations that voted in favor of upgrading the status of “Palestine” at the United Nations a year ago. Only 11 countries refrained from casting a “yes” vote last November, and of the 11, both Germany and the United Kingdom abstained.
Israel and the United States were among the nine nations that voted against “Palestine” becoming a non-voting member nation. The reason given for those “no” votes was that the change in status should only come as part of the process of bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as laid out in formal agreements signed by the two parties.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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